Congresswoman warns of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Sexual Harassment in Congress

"What are we doing for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?" she asked.

Addressing the issue will be complex and "at times uncomfortable", Speier said, as she applauded colleagues from both parties for supporting efforts to mandate sexual harassment training.

Comstock told the story involving the unidentified congressman at a hearing on preventing sexual harassment in Congress, saying she doesn't know who the member is but heard the story from a trustworthy source.

Paul said in a statement that the goal is "not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution".

Two female House lawmakers on Tuesday accused sitting male lawmakers of sexual harassment and misconduct, including an allegation that a male lawmaker exposed his genitals to a female staffer. Alabama's Republican nominee for Senate has come under fire after several women have come forward with accounts of sexually inappropriate behavior or, in at least one case, assault, at Moore's hand when they were teenagers.

Lawmakers Tuesday focused also on the long-term effects of sexual harassment and misconduct on the Capitol.

"A young staffer had been asked to go to a member's residence to bring some documents and was greeted by a member in a towel who then brought her in and exposed himself and she left and she made a decision to quit the office and has moved on", Comstock said.

The staffer subsequently quit, Comstock said.

The Democrat from California recently introduced legislation to make sexual harassment training mandatory for members of Congress after sharing her own story of being assaulted by a male chief of staff.

The announcement comes shortly after the Committee on House Administration held a hearing during which two female lawmakers shared stories about current members of Congress engaging in sexual harassment.

"Obviously, that's not the right approach", he said.

Earlier in the hearing, Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia said a former staffer told her that a Congressman asked a staffer to bring some materials to his residence, greeted her at the door wearing a towel and exposed himself after he invited her inside.

Under the current system, staffers must undergo months of counseling and mediation with the employing office before they can formally file a complaint. "The victim has no counsel, no support". Currently, the Office of Compliance handles sexual harassment charges for legislative branch employees in both the House and Senate.

Barbara Childs Wallace, the chair of the Office of Compliance's board of directors, called the mandatory training that lawmakers are calling for a necessary first step, but said more changes are needed to improve the culture on Capitol Hill. "But mandatory training is one very important component of trying to stop this".

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